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Images of St Joseph are ubiquitous in the modern Catholic devotional landscape with his statues and figurines standing sentinel in every church and creche, but this was not always the case. The husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus spent the first centuries of Christian art as a great absentee, unaccounted for in visual representations of Christ’s birth and infancy.
The Silent Knight explores and chronicles the remarkable rise of Joseph’s iconography through masterpieces by some of history’s greatest artists. The first depictions of Joseph appeared in the fifth century, gradually evolving as the Church grew, accompanying the faithful through the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical history. Josephine imagery adapted at various times to provide inspirational role models for fathers, husbands, workers, the moribund, and even the pope, depending on the circumstances, leading to a striking variety of depictions in the history of art.
Each chapter of this book reveals a different facet of Joseph, contextualized in the history, spirituality, or controversy of the age, and demonstrates how artists applied their creative talents to communicate Joseph’s intercessory power to their audiences. Through the words and prayers of Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Bridget of Sweden, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, Pius IX, and John Paul II, readers will learn how devotion to Joseph expanded in both the breadth of his intercessory powers and his geographical area of influence, galvanizing painters and sculptors to produce fascinating innovations in his iconography.
This richly illustrated book will guide readers through a spectacular gallery of images by Raphael, Michelangelo, Murillo, Giotto, Caravaggio, El Greco, and more, illustrating how each one of these creative geniuses chose to highlight the increasing number of attributes ascribed to this silent saint. Written to celebrate the Year of St Joseph declared by Pope Francis, Saint Joseph in Art aims to deepen the faithful’s knowledge, appreciation, and devotion to this eminent Patron of the Universal Church through the extraordinary beauty that he has inspired.